U.S. could announce COVID-19 vaccine booster plan in early September

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. [Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

In response to the largest coronavirus spike in infections in months, the FDA is prepping a plan for COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

The plan will likely follow other guidelines by prioritizing boosters for immunocompromised and elderly individuals, according to a report from WSJ.

The U.K., Germany and Israel have recommended providing boosters to high-risk populations.

The growing support of COVID-19 boosters in several countries comes as the WHO has called to suspend the use of boosters until late September to make more vaccine doses available to the developing world.

The White House has disputed the WHO recommendation as a false dichotomy, explaining the U.S. could continue donating more COVID-19 vaccines doses while providing booster doses to vulnerable populations, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. W…

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WHO aims to halt COVID-19 vaccine boosters to spur vaccination in developing world

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called to put plans to distribute booster shots on hold until late September to enable more equitable vaccine access across the world.

At present, only 14% of the world’s population is fully vaccinated, and, in some countries, only a sliver of people have obtained vaccines. However, vaccination rates are flagging in much of the developing world. In Bangladesh, for instance, only 2.7% of people are fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data. In Niger, 0.7% of the public has reached that milestone.

In a media briefing, the world is understandably concerned about the Delta variant, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO. “But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the world’s most vulnerable people remain unprotected,” he explained.

WHO wants all countries to vaccinate at least 10% of their populations by the end …

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WHO: All countries should vaccinate at least 10% of their people against COVID-19 by September

[Image from Wikimedia Commons/Russell Watkins/DFID]

World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the organization’s aims for global COVID-19 vaccinations.

During an address to the annual World Health Assembly today, Ghebreyesus called for all countries to have at least 10% of their populations vaccinated by September and at least 30% by the end of 2021.

In low- and middle-income countries, about 250 million more people would need to get vaccinated if the world were to reach the September threshold, with Ghebreyesus saying all healthcare workers and the most at-risk groups should have priority.

“This is crucial to stop severe disease and death, keep our health workers safe and reopen our societies and economies,” Ghebreyesus said. “We must be very clear: the pandemic is not over, and it will not be over until and unless transmission is controlled…

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Forthcoming WHO report could provide multiple theories of COVID-19 pandemic’s origins

[Image courtesy of World Health Organization]

The World Health Organization has a leading theory regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic but is considering three others in a forthcoming report, according to a recent AP article.

The most likely scenario is that the virus, which many scientists believe first appeared in bats, infected humans through an intermediary animal. Less likely is that bats infected humans directly.

The report also considers the possibility that the vaccine could have initially spread through contaminated frozen food products. The least likely scenario, although still possible, is that a laboratory such as the Wuhan Institute of Virology seeded the pandemic through an accident.

Shi Zhengli, who directs the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has denied that the lab was the source of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. She also co-authore…

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WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine pauses in EU unwarranted

The World Health Organization endorsed the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine after several European countries have halted its use over potential safety risks.

AstraZeneca has observed 15 deep vein thrombosis (DVT) reports and 22 pulmonary embolism (PE) cases out of 17 million vaccine recipients in the E.U. and U.K. as of March 8. Based on that data, the incidence rate among that population would be roughly 0.00022%. The company issued a statement saying the rate of events is “much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed COVID-19 vaccines.

WHO stressed in prepared remarks that COVID-19 vaccines cannot “reduce illness or deaths from other causes” and that “thromboembolic events are known to occur frequently.”

The agency said, based on the data currently available, the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

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COVID-19 could have originated from wildlife farms

Asian palm civet image courtesy of Wikipedia.

While the origins of the COVID-19 remain unknown, a likely theory is that wildlife farms in southern China are most likely to blame for seeding the pandemic, according to a member from the World Health Organization (WHO).

While most scientists believe bats were the source of the virus that would later infect humans, it was unclear how humans contracted the virus linked to bats. Although COVID-19 first became an epidemic in Wuhan, the bats that seeded the virus likely live further south in China. Scientists have identified a bat virus in Yunnan province in the south with a 96% genetic overlap with SARS-CoV-2.

According to WHO member Peter Daszak, bats in southern China could have infected animals living near wildlife farms in southern China, which supplied vendors at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan with animals. The market was an early COVID-19…

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J&J submits EUA application to WHO for single-shot COVID-19 vaccine

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) announced today that it submitted for emergency use listing (EUL) to the World Health Organization (WHO) for its COVID-19 vaccine.

New Brunswick, N.J.-based J&J’s Janssen subsidiary’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine candidate was submitted for EUL with a data package including interim efficacy and safety results from the Phase 3 Ensemble clinical trial, which met all of its primary and key secondary endpoints, according to a news release.

EUL submission is a step forward in the process for a new or unlicensed product to be assessed for use during public health emergencies by governments and UN procurement agencies. Such listing would offer the single-dose vaccine in many countries and is a prerequisite to supply vaccines to the new COVAX Facility for pooled procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in 190 participating countries, including 92 lower-income countries.

Previously, J&J agreed in princ…

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